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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2006

Germany v Ireland: Loew looks at youth to inspire

STUTTGART, September 1 (Euro 2008 Qualifier) - Germany coach Joachim Loew goes into Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier with the Republic of Ireland in the belief the youngsters that sparkled, but ultimately failed, in the World Cup can come of age over the next two years.

However, as the Germans start out on the road to Austria and Switzerland, they are not taking the Irish for granted.

'The Irish have their backs to the wall and will accept the challenge from the very first second,' said Low, who was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann when Germany finished third in the World Cup.

Helping Loew scout on the opposition is Michael Ballack and Jens Lehmann, who both play against many of the Ireland squad in the Premier League and know where their strengths lie.

'Ireland have a really good team,' said the 36-year-old Lehmann at a press conference on Friday.

'If anybody thinks it will be an easy game, they are mistaken.'

Loew has his injury problems ahead of the Ireland game.

Per Mertesacker, Christoph Metzelder, Jens Nowotny and Robert Huth are all absent, meaning the likes of Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings will share more responsibility to keep the ball away from the back four.

'The midfield has got to clear up any dangerous situations and build up the pressure going forward,' said Loew.

'That way, we can keep the opponents far away from our goal.'

Should the Irish indeed break through, Lehmann is confident the four men in front of him are capable enough of allowing him an easy night in Stuttgart.

He said: 'I am not worried; we had similar problems before the World Cup which were made out to be really bad, but as soon as we played our opening group game against Costa Rica, our defence was in order.

'With Arne (Friedrich), Philipp (Lahm) and Marcell (Jansen), we have three players who played very well at the World Cup and Manuel Friedrich knows the system from his club.'

Loew's attack picks itself with Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski set to carry on from where they left off in the World Cup, where the former won the golden boot award and the latter was named the tournament's best young player.

Republic boss Steve Staunton is anticipating a tough test at the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium.

'We know what they are going to be like - very strong and powerful - just as they have with every other team they have faced over the past few months, and we have to withstand that,' said Staunton.

'It's up to us to counteract that, impose ourselves on the game and be brave because they're not invincible by any means.

'We've discussed things with the lads and shown them what Germany are all

about, although they already know anyway.

'We know what we have to do, and the lads will show that Saturday night.

We've enough talent to get at them.

'We have to try and win the game because if we don't do that then the Germans will pen us in for 90 minutes.'

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